A few defaulters go to unexpected extremes to avoid paying debts to their creditors but a 59-year old woman from China just did something bizarre in order to avoid 25 million yuan ($3.71 million) of personal debts. The woman, identified as Zhu Najuan, underwent plastic surgery and disappeared after a court in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province asked her to pay off a massive debt of over 25 million yuan (3.71 million US dollar) earlier this year.
Police officials were left surprised after apprehending the woman, who fled to the southeastern Chinese city of Shenzhen to avoid following the court order.
The woman, according to police, looked in her thirties and was different from the photos they had. She also confessed to using other people’s identity cards to travel across the country by train. She financed her plastic surgery using borrowed bank cards, Xinhua said late on Friday.
The case also highlights the challenges faced by the communist state as it tries to establish a “credit society”. On July 16, more than 300 Chinese cities jointly released a declaration about enhancing the credit system to improve people’s credit rating. With growing availability of credit to individuals, China is also facing a surge in household debt, which is estimated to have reached around 50 percent of gross domestic product last year, more than doubling in less than a decade.
As regulators try to establish a reliable nationwide credit rating system, authorities across the country are also exploring new ways to crack down on those who do not pay debts. According to state media, one court in Jiangsu province has drawn up a blacklist of defaulters. Anyone who telephones an individual on the blacklist will first be forced to listen to a pre-recorded message saying “please urge this person to fulfil their legal obligations”.
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